Lomani Island Resort – Fiji

June 19, 2024
Fiji

Fiji

BULA! (pronouced ‘buu-laa’ and means Hello and/or Welcome)

As you’d know, we recently had a week away in Fiji. Here’s the promised post to wrap up that week. Strap yourself in, this is a MEGA post. There are lots of piccies and some videos! My goodness this was a time consuming one to put together. One week in paradise, a zillion photos & videos to sort through, lots to tell, show and share, and trying to condense it all down into one post as best as I can! By the way, before anyone asks, there were photos taken of The Tennis Player but as regular readers would know, he chooses not to have his face all over the internet, so I don’t include any here on my blog.

WHERE WE STAYED

We stayed at Lomani Island Resort which is an adults only resort on Malalo Lailai Island. Lomani means ‘love’ in Fijian! There are two other resorts on the island, Plantation Island Resort and Muscat Cove Resort, both of which cater for families. We loved our resort for its tranquility (no kids!). We love kids but this holiday was about restoring and reviving and well … peace and serenity and that is what we got! Heaven!

There’s a larger island nearby called Malalo Island. There are apparently seven (7) resorts on that island. Our island, Malalo Lailai, means ‘little Malalo’ (lailai means ‘little’ in Fijian). 

We arrived at Nadi airport (pronounced ‘Nandi‘ by the Fijians) and after a short wait we were taken by bus to Port Denarau. We were here for an hour or so, so had time to browse the shops (and make a couple of sneaky purchases) before we boarded the Malalo Cat which would take us to our island.  This was about a 50-60 minute trip. It was after 5:30pm before we left so most of the trip was in the dark! Finally, we arrived to our island. The Malalo Cat arrives at Plantation Island Resort and we then got transferred by buggy to Lomani Island Resort where we were staying.

ARRIVAL

Arrival at Malalo Lailai was made so special because of the beautiful greeting you get – the beautiful singing voices, smiling faces, and cry’s of Bula, and the generous gift of a shell necklace placed around your neck. You are made feel so very welcome!

When we arrived at Lomani Island Resort there was more beautiful singing and Bula’s and they said “Welcome Home’ which was so touching. We were guided to seats and given some coconuts with straws and fresh coconut milk. This is where you complete a bit of paperwork and are given some information about the resort and then you’re taken to your accommodation.

We stayed at a Beachfront Bure which was gorgeous! There are what they call ‘luxury apartments’ but I didn’t want that, I wanted a more ‘Fijian’ experience and opted to stay in a bure. The interior is beautiful and you have an outstanding outlook and just a hop, step and a jump to the beach and ocean. You have a large bathroom with a shower, double basins, separate toilet etc and you also have an outdoor shower option with a little line out there to hang wet swimmers or clothes.

Housekeeping came twice each day. When you returned from breakfast your bed would be made, supplies restocked, and a clean done. They would also replace the water (with frangipani flowers floating in it) in the little bucket dish at the back door that is there to wash your feet in when you return from the beach. The second visit is made while you’re at dinner. After dinner your return home to find your bed turned down and a little package of choc chip cookies waiting for you (see photo’s in the gallery above).

THE WATER – had to make a note about the water. The tap water can only be used to brush your teeth and to shower in. You must drink bottled water here. We found that when you wash your hair in the tap water it made our hair go weird – kind of fly away and fluffy!

On the night we arrived there was Happy Birthday spelt out on the bed using palm fronds. It was such a lovely surprise and very touching!

Fiji

It was around 7:30 – 8:00 pm by this stage and we were very hungry so we  dumped our suitcases, freshened up a little and headed straight to the restaurant for dinner before it closed.

We got up early the next morning because the events itinerary left for us in our room had said there was a visit to the village the next morning and we wanted to book in for that – which we did before breakfast.

VISIT TO THE VILLAGE

The village turned out to be on the other side of the bigger nearby Malalo island and we were told it was 10 minutes by boat. We think it took a little longer than 10 minutes! We went on the ‘Lomani Princess’. The visit to the village was really enjoyable. We were greeted by the village women who had a bunch of market stalls set up for us to peruse but that came later. One of the ladies, who was our guide, took us for a bit of a tour. We saw the Chief’s bure and were taken to visit the ‘Malalo District School’ which was what I was most looking forward to. This school was for preschoolers up to grade 8. There is a high school elsewhere on the island for the older kids. We were told that most of the children live on the other side of the island and walk to school. The longest walk is about 45 minutes but in bad weather can take an hour or more. It was interesting to hear that the children must bring a toothbrush and toothpaste to school to brush their teeth after meals and receive a detention if they don’t bring them! Maybe this is something Australian schools should introduce? The school was very poor, no lighting in classrooms, no air conditioning of course. The children were in class and not let out to meet with us though we snuck in a few smiles and waves to them. Any gifts were not allowed to be given directly to the children because if there’s not enough to go around it causes fights which is completely understandable. My gifts of pens, pencils, erasers and stickers (see them in this post) were placed in the office for them to dispense as they please. A couple of others had some gifts to leave in there too. They’ll have fun with mine because I did them up in individual little gift bags thinking I’d be handing them out to the kids. They will have to open each of the 50 of them and pool all items together!!

After the school visit we were taken to a communal meeting place where two village men invited us to a kava ceremony. I had difficulty understanding what the man who did all the speaking was saying. Our guide took a little cup of kava around to most. For some reason, I wasn’t given any and I think others missed out too. Not sure why? The village men had a large bowl and suggested donations for the village could be placed there. So of course, we donated.

Next we went to visit the village ladies and their market stalls. I bought a few gifts here and enjoyed seeing some of the gorgeous little kids. 

Before long it was time to leave and off we went on the Lomani Princess back to our lailai island and resort.

LOMANI ISLAND RESORT FOOD & DRINKS

Flame Tree Restaurant Food

The food at the restaurant was outstanding. I had some favourites that I had more than once but was very happy to try to new things. Breakfast was a buffet but you also had a menu and could order hot meals. I frequently had the Eggs Benedict for breakfast as it’s always been something I love but never before have I had it served on a croissant as was done here and it was delicious! Some days though, I preferred a smaller breakfast and just had some cereal and fruit from the buffet. Here’s a selection of some of the meals I had and a glimpse of the breakfast buffet (not all of it was photographed)! The video after the photo gallery provides a little taste of the kind of evening ambiance you could expect.

The restaurant will provide room service and also deliver to you poolside or anywhere you wish within the resort. We only used this service once. We had lunch delivered to us as we lay on the sun lounges in our backyard. Heaven! It saved us having to spruce up to go to lunch which was wonderful considering we spruced up for brekky, lunch and dinner most days we were there.

Happy Hour

Happy Hour at the bar is every day from 4:30pm to 5:30pm. The video below shows the way the end of Happy Hour is announced! Of course you can drink at the bar outside of Happy Hour too!

Cooking Class

We met the chef at cooking class one day. This was not a hands on cooking class but more an observation of him cooking. He cooked ‘Kokoda’ which is where raw tuna fish sits in lemon juice and cooks in that juice. Then the fish goes in coconut milk with some diced up capsicum (red & green), cucumber, onion, tomato, chilli & local coriander (plus salt & pepper etc). We all got a little container each to taste (most had seconds). It was delicious!

Lomani Kava Ceremony

Here’s where I finally got my chance to sample some Kava. We were shown how Kava is made (we missed this part because they started earlier than scheduled time) and then the ceremonial/drinking process was explained to us. Kava is made from the roots of the kava plant and ground to a pulp until it is in powder form. It’s then put into a muslin bag that you squeeze as you dunk in water. The darker the mixture, the more potent the mix! The ceremonial/drinking process is you clap once with cupped hands, say Bula and then take the drink and drink it. Then you hand the cup back, clap three times with cupped hands and then say Maca (pronounce ‘Ma-tha’). Maca basically means ‘finished’!  We were asked if we’d like ‘high tide’ or ‘low tide’ which basically means a full cup or a 1/2 cup. I chose low tide of course! The taste wasn’t as bad as I’d been expecting but certainly not something I’d rush back for! It’s kind of like drinking dirty water I guess but not grainy. Our mix was pretty mild I believe. My lips felt a little bit tingly for a short while. The person serving is always last to drink. There’s a video below of our jokester server having his serve after all of us.

General Managers Cocktail Evening 

Once a week, generally on a Wednesday evening there is a General Manager’s cocktail evening. It in the bar and includes free drinks and nibblies. The General Manager comes around and has a chat to all present which is lovely. The General Manager is actually a New Zealand lady called Shelley White, however she wasn’t there. We heard that she is unwell and is back in New Zealand receiving treatment. We hope that she will be ok. There was a Fijian lady who came around and spoke to us instead and we believe she is acting in the General Manager’s position.

LOMANI ISLAND RESORT HEALTH SPA

Of course I had to have a spa treatment! I like a firm massage so chose to have a Fijian Bobo Massage and opted to treat myself with it on my actual birthday. Here’s a bit about the Fijian Bobo Massage:

Discover the time tested benefits of a traditional Fijian Bobo Massage enhanced with traditional techniques which will improve lymphatic and blood circulation through stimulating techniques which will be used to deliver a memorable massage experience with a use of unique blend of cold pressed nut oil which will rejuvenate, replenish, hydrate and nourish your skin.

The current spa facilities are tiny – just one room. You also have the option of having your massage at the beachside Cabana – see in the ‘around the resort’ photo gallery below in this post.

There’s a new Health and Wellness Centre currently being built and due to open in October 2024. From what we were told it sounds like it will be amazing and definitely a reason to go back again! 

Fiji

OTHER ACTIVITIES WE DID

Kayaking – I really enjoyed this. No cost – just get them from the activity centre and off you go. No photos of this of course – can’t take a phone out there with you! 

Swimming in the ocean out the front of our bure. It was more like paddling and splashing about. I sat out there in the water and these sandy coloured striped fish swam around me in circles and would follow me wherever I went. Why did I get the feeling they’ve been fed before and were after some food? They were like little puppies. When I left the water I looked back and there they were looking at me, willing me to come back in the water. 

Snorkelling – we were going to do the snorkelling and dolphin watching activity but it turned out to be a rainy day that day so we signed up for snorkelling on a day that was to be sunny. Off we went on the Lomani Princess. I was a bit anxious I have to say because I’ve only ever snorkelled once and that was at Reefworld at the Great Barrier Reef back when the kids were all little and in primary school. It was also very calm water and there’s a big pontoon that you can easily climb back on to at any time.

As it turns out, I was right to be anxious. We were told we’d be taken to two spots, the first one purely for snorkelling and the second spot for snorkelling and feeding fish. The first spot was was out in the open sea. It was deep dark blue sea. There were lots of boats around and all moving so the swells in the water were huge. There was no instructions, no practice, everyone just jumped in. The Tennis Player had abandoned me and was gone off amongst the others snorkelling. I wanted to at least try … so I jumped in and immediately felt panicked. My mask fogged up so I couldn’t see. The swells were so huge it was hard to remain above water. If I put the mouthpiece in my mouth I felt claustrophobic when combined with the other things. Thankfully the Tennis Player spotted me and came to me and I said “please get me out of here” and helped me back to the boat. This was not easy because the boat was always moving and the swells were huge. It was exhausting and when we finally got to the boat we had to get ot the other side of it because there was only one ladder and it was the other side. It was huge relief to me to get back on that boat. There was one lady who didn’t go in at all when she saw the conditions. Two others got back on the boat soon after me. I learnt something that day – me and snorkelling out in the open sea is a big NO, NO thank you very much! I think this activity is for people who are well practiced at snorkelling out at sea, not the likes of me!

The second spot looked better. You could see the reef/coral. It wasn’t as deep. The water was a much lighter blue though pretty stirred up from nearby boats. I decided not to try again and instead took some photos. Biscuits were thrown in that stirred fish into a frenzy. It was still nice to be out there on the boat as an observer.

I have no photos from the first spot we went to, these photos are from the second spot.

Bike Ride to other Resorts

One day we grabbed some Lomani bikes (free) and cycled first to check out Plantation Island Resort and then Muscat Cove Resort. These were both lovely resorts catering for families so a lot busier (and noisier) than ours. We probably preferred Muscat Cove Resort. We bought a few things at the shop at Plantation Island and we stopped and had a drink at Muscat Cove and explored around a bit. Then we cycled back to the serenity of Lomani. We made the right choice of resort for our needs which was good to know!


There was a fishing trip we or maybe just he might have gone on but the wet weather meant we didn’t manage to fit that in. It was ok because we fit enough into the days we were there.

Our travel booking paperwork mentioned basket weaving as an included activity that I was looking forward to but it never appeared on the activities itinerary when we were there.

AROUND THE RESORT

Here are some of the photographs I took around the resort. We had a few overcast and sometimes rainy days but it truly didn’t bother us. The whole point of this holiday was rest and relaxation so we lay about and read books and ate too much and went to happy hour most days. It was a great atmosphere and we enjoyed the music.

ENTERTAINMENT

Every evening there’s one to two guys with guitars singing at the bar and then at the restaurant from 6pm every night.

One night we were entertained with some Polynesian Dancing followed by Fire Dancing which was fabulous!

MY BIRTHDAY

On Friday 31 May 2024, I turned 60!

My birthday was an overcast & sometimes rainy day which was fine with me. Being in the paradise we were in meant that every day is a wonderful day regardless of the weather! We had a relaxing morning – breakfast followed by lying about and reading our books. In the afternoon I went for my Fijian Bobo Massage (see more details above under ‘Lomani Island Resort Health Spa’ on the massage) and at dinner that night the staff made a big fuss of me.

After dinner and dessert, the staff all came out singing with their beautiful voices – a Fijian song first, then Happy Birthday dear ‘Mini’ and happy long life dear ‘Mini’ and may God bless you dear ‘Mini’ etc. It was gorgeous with lots of clapping and joy and vitality as they do. That wasn’t the end though. They somehow also got wind of the fact that it had been The Tennis Player’s birthday on the 20th of May and they did it all again for him! They had also brought us some cake (see photo below)! We’d just eaten dinner and dessert so had no room left to eat cake so we took it back to our Bure to store in the fridge there and had it for afternoon tea on some following days. 

Fiji

TIME TO SAY FAREWELL

The 7 nights went by too quickly and before we knew it was time to say goodbye. What a memorable way to spend my 60th!

Once we’d finalised our bill, we were ushered into the guests suite to await our buggy transfer to Plantation Island Resort where the Malalo Cat departs. After being there a short while, to our surprise, about 5-6 staff entered the room, one of which said some words about us being family and how much they enjoyed having us and how they would like to sing us a farewell song. One of the guys had a guitar and they then proceeded to sing a farewell song in Fijian. I didn’t know what any of the words meant but it was really touching and it brought a tear. Then they hugged us farewell one by one … like farewelling family. I mean, you try and hold in the waterworks! What special people they are!

Moce (goodbye – pronounced “Moe-they”) and Vinaka (thank you) to Lomani Island Resort and to all the beautiful friendly staff there. We will definitely be back. We have to see the new spa and wellness centre and experience it, plus it really was paradise, a slice of heaven on earth, made all the more beautiful because of the staff there. Nothing was ever too much trouble for them. They were always happy and smiling. They got to know us – knew our names, knew what drinks and food we liked, and remembered our room number. They were a joy to be around every day we were there and so who wouldn’t want to experience all of that again? I know I do!

YOU’VE MADE IT TO THE END OF THE POST WITH SOME BONUSES

There you go, I hope you enjoyed my not so little Fijian holiday wrap up and as a bonus you’ve learnt a bit about the Fijian culture and had a free Fijian language lesson. If you’ve read through ALL of this MEGA post you’ll have now learnt six Fijian words:

  1. Lomani
  2. Bula
  3. Lailai
  4. Vinaka
  5. Maca, and
  6. Moce

No scrolling back up and cheating – tell me in the comments what each of them mean! lol  If you’ve read my post, you can do it!

Ciao for now,

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26 Comments

  • Reply Sue from Women Living Well After 50 June 19, 2024 at 5:49 am

    Hi MIn, WOW! I can see this post would have taken ages for you to compile but what a great review of your Fijian holiday. The perfect way to celebrate your special birthday and also the perfect place to get some much needed R&R. I last visited Fiji when I was 21 – that’s almost 46 years ago!!!! I think Mike and I might need to make a return trip. Thanks so much for sharing your holiday with us and the valuable information for those of us who might want to plan a trip. #WWWhimsy

    • Reply Min June 19, 2024 at 1:44 pm

      Hi Sue, this post took me many, many hours over several days. I was SO HAPPY when it was finished! I just didn’t want to split it up as I’m still trying to get through all my New Zealand trip posts and that’s enough! I think you might be due for another trip to Fiji Sue! 46 years was a while ago and I’m sure a lot has changed including yourself in that time! Thank you! I do hope this post does provide some good info for anyone planning a trip! xo

  • Reply Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid June 19, 2024 at 6:29 am

    What a wonderful trip – I loved following along while you were away on the socials. Everything looks amazing and I’m so pleased you had a wonderful time. I feel like I could do with a week in Fiji myself although it’s a bit further to go now that I’m in the UK! When you’ve been somewhere amazing and you want to tell everybody ALL the things, it’s so hard to condense it all down into one post isn’t it? I had the same problem with my Madrid post – it’s like War and Peace and that’s still splitting it over two posts. I think you definitely need to go back if for no other reason than you can check out the spa!

    • Reply Min June 19, 2024 at 1:47 pm

      Hi Sammie, it was a fabulous week! Seems like a very distant memory already sadly. There were guests there from the UK – so you could do it! There were lots of Aussies and New Zealanders but also some Americans, British, even heard French speaking guests and there was a lady from Norway. People come from all over the world! It was incredibly hard to condense everything into this one post. Lots of photos and videos didn’t make it. Oh well. I just didn’t want to split it up because I already still have the rest of my NZ trip to complete yet! I loved your Madrid post Part 1. Looking forward to Part 2! Thanks for linking up with #WWWhimsy – hope to see you here again next week! xo

  • Reply Joanne Tracey June 19, 2024 at 6:56 am

    I loved following your pics on socials, but what a fantastic trip! It would have taken you hours to put together. We last visited Fiji when Sarah was 8 or 9 – one of the family resorts – but this looks decadent.

    • Reply Min June 19, 2024 at 1:49 pm

      Hi Jo, so glad you enjoyed following my pics on the socials.This post … OMG … it took many hours each day over several days. I was BESIDE MYSELF when it was finally finished. I was ready to move on! I think it might be time for you to revisit Fiji Jo. You’d love it! Not sure about staying on the mainland but the islands are magnificent, though I can only speak for where we stayed! xo

  • Reply Jennifer Jones June 19, 2024 at 10:10 am

    What a wonderful post Min. It would have taken me forever to put all this information together. I’ve never been to Fiji, and your post has me wondering why not. Your photos are gorgeous and show the wonderful holiday you had.

    • Reply Min June 19, 2024 at 1:54 pm

      Thanks Jennifer – this post DID take me forever! I was beside myself excited when it was finally finished! I won’t be doing a post of this size again for a long time! lol You should totally go to Fiji! I’m not sure that I’d want to stay on the mainland but the island resort that we went to was just wonderful! xo

  • Reply Denyse Whelan June 19, 2024 at 11:43 am

    Big kudos to you Min. This was quite the promotion for the experience and I am so glad that you were treated so very well too. Just what was needed!!

    I reckon if you ever become a Grandmother, “MINI” is such a cuter word for you too!

    And I was pleased to follow your trip via social media too.

    Take care, and thanks for the link up.

    Denyse.

    • Reply Denyse Whelan June 19, 2024 at 11:43 am

      cute – not cuter!!

      • Reply Min June 19, 2024 at 1:56 pm

        I thought that’s what you meant! 🙂

    • Reply Min June 19, 2024 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks Denyse! This post was a mammoth effort I have to say but I’m glad I got it all wrapped up in the one post as I didn’t want it to drag on as I still have my NZ trip posts to finish! I’m not sure I’d want to be called Mini as a grandmother. I used to get called that when I was little so it feels like a little kids name to me. I’d be happy to be Nanna Min or Nanny Min. I’m glad you enjoyed following my trip! xo

      • Reply Denyse Whelan June 20, 2024 at 10:36 am

        Fair enough…I like your choices of words too!

        • Reply Min June 21, 2024 at 10:23 am

          Thanks Denyse. I hope I do become a grandmother one day! Still waiting!

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee June 19, 2024 at 3:45 pm

    I got them all from memory (I did already know two) except Maca (which I’ll scroll back to find…..). Fun to test us. Your photos are lovely!! The weather in the pics looks like you had pretty perfect weather…the beach looks really lovely too. The farewell tho. How personal. I bet you’ll think of that a lot, when you recall the trip.

    • Reply Min June 21, 2024 at 10:17 am

      Lydia, you’re the only one who gave it a go and you did well! lol I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. That farewell – OMG I was NOT expecting that and it certainly got me teary! The staff and how happy and cheerful and kind and helpful and caring they were is what I will remember the most from this holiday.

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee June 19, 2024 at 3:46 pm

    Found Maca. Doubt I’ll remember it tho…hehehe. Test us again next week.

    • Reply Min June 21, 2024 at 10:17 am

      You might surprise yourself!! lol

  • Reply Thistles and Kiwis June 19, 2024 at 5:27 pm

    What a fantastic holiday and a great way to celebrate your birthday.

    • Reply Min June 21, 2024 at 10:17 am

      It was lovely for sure!

  • Reply Joanne June 20, 2024 at 4:25 am

    Oh wow! What a beautiful resort!! I love that have an adult only option and then others for families. I too like kids but there is definitely something to be said for a nice, quiet, relaxing adult vacation. The food looks fantastic. Sadly, your snorkeling experience sounds a lot like our day in Belize… and was definitely not something I’d ever want to repeat. I much prefer snorkeling in little coves and shallow/secluded areas and not in the open ocean. Those pool photos and that beach though.. man they look incredible and I feel myself relaxing just looking at them!

    • Reply Min June 21, 2024 at 10:22 am

      Hi Joanne, it certainly was a beautiful place and so peaceful and relaxing with wonderful staff. YES re the snorkelling! OMG I will never snorkel in the open sea ever again. it was terrifying. Like you I prefer calmer waters, quiet coves etc. Lomani is somewhere I would certainly go back to again and I hope we do! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the photos! xo

  • Reply sherry June 20, 2024 at 6:15 pm

    so nice to get away and have a real break.

    • Reply Min June 21, 2024 at 10:23 am

      It sure was Sherry!

  • Reply Anna July 12, 2024 at 8:20 pm

    The little touches, like the personalized birthday celebrations and the twice-daily housekeeping, make Lomani sound like a dream destination. Your vivid descriptions of the local culture, the village visit, and the various activities you indulged in, from kayaking to cooking classes, paint a vivid picture of the enriching experiences Fiji has to offer. Thank you for sharing such a comprehensive and enchanting narrative—it’s made me eager to plan my own trip to this beautiful island! Vinaka! 🌴🌺✨

    • Reply Min July 16, 2024 at 2:33 pm

      Bula Anna, and Vinaka! I’m so glad you enjoyed my post and thrilled it has inspired you to plan a trip there yourself! I’ve no doubt you will love it! xo

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